Business Case Studies, Innovation and New Product Development Case Study, DaimlerChrysler’s Compass SUV,Softening The Tough Jeep

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Innovation and New Product Development Case Study

Case Title:

DaimlerChrysler’s Compass SUV: Softening The Tough Jeep

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Rudrajit Mishra, Abhijit Sinha

Industry: Automobiles


Case Code: IPD0084K

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Jeep was an automobile brand of DaimlerChrysler (DC) which was known for its rugged looks and agile off-road performance. It was one of the Chrysler subsidiaries and became a part of DaimlerChrysler when Daimler-Benz merged with the Chrysler Corporation in 1998. Since its inception in 1941 Jeep had dominated sport utility vehicle (SUV) market for almost 65 years. Jeep was famous worldwide for its rough and tough looks and it was hugely popular among the adventure friendly people. By 2006 sales of full-size SUVs were plummeting on regular basis and automakers were beginning to admit that a shift of market was almost inevitable. Several companies were thinking of new products, car-based SUV being one of them. DC was among them, and was about to take a new direction by launching its first car-based SUV which emphasized on on-road performance rather than boulder-hopping off-road feats. Compass was Jeep’s first car-based SUV and it was the Jeep’s new initiative of focusing on-road performance. The management of Jeep realized that they needed to appeal to a wide range of customers and at the same time they also wanted to preserve its “rough-and-ready” image. DC was competing for Jeep’s success with the philosophy of expanding as well as diversifying.

This case deals with promotion of the new brand ‘Jeep Compass’ as the management had planned to spend an estimated amount of US $75 million for the brand promotion and the acceptance level of new Jeep among the common people.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the efforts made by DC to launch and promote ‘Jeep Compass
  • To analyse how DC attempted to change Jeep’s traditional rough & tough image
  • To get an idea of the global sports utility market (SUV) market
  • To discuss whether the new, ‘softer’, Jeep would appeal to the customers.

Keywords : DaimlerChrysler (DC); Jeep; Compass; Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV); Daimler-Benz; Chrysler; Diversifying; Marque; Global SUV market; Product launch; Innovation Management Case Study; Brand promotion; Rugged looks; Car based SUV; Softer Jeep; Off-road performance


  • Jeep: a snapshot
  • Jeep compass
  • Global SUV market: overview
  • Jeep's initiative
    • Product launch
    • Brand promotion
  • Road ahead

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